Hungary and Poland took the top two places in UEFA European Under-19 qualifying round Group 6 after Moldova's final-day loss to Finland.
Going into the deciding set of fixtures in the last of the qualifying round mini-tournaments, Poland and Moldova led hosts Hungary by a point with Finland out of contention following two losses. But Hungary defeated Poland 2-0 to gain first place while Moldova missed a top-two finish on goal difference after losing 6-2 to Finland. Moldova must now wait for confirmation of the two third-placed teams with the best record against the leading pair in their section that will complete the lineup for the 30 November elite round draw.
László Szepessy's Hungary side had lost 1-0 to a Igor Dima goal for Moldova in their first game but Bence Elek secured a win by the same score against Finland. Then in the first four minutes versus Poland, István Kovács's long-range effort and Csaba Ponczók's free-kick proved enough for victory against a side that had defender Julien Tadrowski sent off.
"Of course, we put ourselves under enormous pressure by losing [against Moldova]," Szepessy said. "We should have beaten them but they played a good defensive, counterattacking game and we missed the chances we had. We were very tense afterwards but got our confidence back by beating Finland and totally deserved to win here today."
Poland were grateful for Finland's valedictory win against Moldova. The game had been 1-1 late in the first half but Finland then streaked away to allow Poland to claim second place. Poland's captain Marcin Kamiński told UEFA.com: "Right now we are relieved to qualify, not disappointed about today's result. At 2-0 down and at half-time, we thought that was it, we were gone, but then we were told that Finland kept on scoring in the other game. We thought we could only qualify if we avoided defeat so we have been lucky."
The key for Poland was their opening 2-0 defeat of Finland thanks to Michał Żyro and Rafał Pietrzak, as they were then held 0-0 by Moldova. "I believe we deserved to qualify as we played very well in beating Finland and were the better team in our draw against Moldova," Kamiński added. "Today, though, Hungary were definitely better than us. Those two early goals really knocked us out so congratulations to them. We now look forward to a few months of preparation for the elite round."
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